Hair care - whose decision? (10 year old) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 03-27-2010, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is almost 11. She has long, straight, thick hair. Which she only brushes in the car - you know, the once over in the parts that give no resistance. As a result, it's a rat's nest most of the time. About every two weeks I have her slather conditioner on it and I work out all of the tangles (it's washed more often than this, I'm just referring to working the tangles out). Last week, I couldn't get two mats out of it at all in the time our patience would allow.

My preference is that she get it cut into a bob, which she's always been more successful at keeping tidy. She wants to grow it longer.

I don't know which course to take. On the one hand, it's her head and her business. On the other hand, if she's not able to manage this independently then maybe she needs help, and help could look like cutting it to a length that she can handle.

Thoughts?

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#2 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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No advice, just a story. My 21 year old daughter still remembers (and brings up) the time when she was 6 and I had the beautician cut her hair to MY preference. I have always been of the opinion that it's just hair and grows back - she was traumatized and will only allow her hair to be trimmed in millimeters. Hair is a very personal thing.

I do sympathize with you about the messy hair.
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#3 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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I put my foot down. You take care of it or it gets cut.

Your dd is old enough to take care of it, but IMO she is young enough to need reminders. Also she still might need help knowing how to do it correctly. Allow enough time in the morning to do it.
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#4 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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IMO it's her choice. Try putting conditioner in it more often. If 2 weeks is the only time all the tangles are getting out it's going to be hard. Once a week should be the longest.

You can also see if she'll let you braid it at night to help with the tangles.
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#5 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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She may still need help w. her hair. At 10 she really shouldnt be leaving (im guessing for school) w. out having her hair 'done'. You may need to reschedule the morning to set aside 5 mins to help her brush and fix her hair to get ready. My son is 9 and there are mornings I still need to run the brush through his head.

Instead of working against her on this, can you work with her? Fix the hair in the AM and brush it before bed?

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#6 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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Maybe if you leave it long but get some layers put in it woul dbe more manageable.

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#7 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:55 AM
 
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Why is it only getting the tangles out every 2 weeks? I'm not asking this to be judgemental or snarky, genuinely curious. My dd has hair that tangles like crazy (and curly on top of that) and she's very tender headed. We normally wash it every other night and brush it out in the shower while the conditioner's still in. That's just a requirement for her hair. I'd let your dd decide how to keep her hair styled, but definitely work on a better plan for the two of you on keeping it nice. Maybe braid it at night so mornings are just an easy brush out?
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#8 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by enkmom View Post
No advice, just a story. My 21 year old daughter still remembers (and brings up) the time when she was 6 and I had the beautician cut her hair to MY preference. I have always been of the opinion that it's just hair and grows back - she was traumatized and will only allow her hair to be trimmed in millimeters. Hair is a very personal thing.

I do sympathize with you about the messy hair.
I had a similar experience to your DD. My mom cut my hair short for a few years when I was 6-9. I didn't like it, but I also wasn't traumatized. I think I understood that it had to be easier to care for, b/c mom & I didn't have the patience to keep it tangle-free. Once I was 9 or 10, I started taking care of it myself, keeping it brushed, etc., and was able to grow it long again. I have alternated between long and short every few years since then.

Just wanted to share a kid's non-trauma side of a similar situation. Not to diminish your DD's trauma or anything.

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#9 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies .

I used to be involved with her hair more often, but she's become more resistant. She doesn't want to do it. She's a very sensitive person and the process really bothers her. She pulls a lot of attitude about it and I'll confess that I've just been letting it slide.

She's a bear in the morning and it's only when she's in the car on the way to school that she realizes she's going to see her peers shortly and tries to get it together. Her current solution is a scrunchie.

I think a reasonable thing to try is the night time brushing, when she's less owly. I've been trying to get her to think of it as brush your teeth/wash your face/brush your hair but she just isn't adopting the habit. Tomorrow I'll get the tangles out and then we'll start an every night brush out.

We've previously tried silk pillows and braids, but she hates the process of braiding.

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#10 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Instead of working against her on this, can you work with her? Fix the hair in the AM and brush it before bed?
That's why I posted, because I want to work with her and respect her as a person, but she's just really resistant to anything to do with her hair.

The reason it's 2 weeks is that that's as often as I can usually get her to let me detangle it. She's become REALLY, REALLY resistant to dealing with it, which is what's leading to the state it's in.

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#11 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 03:56 AM
 
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Mothercake, we agree. Getting a forced or "wrong" haircut doesn't have to be a traumatizing experience, and for 9 out of 10 of us, it isn't. It's that 10th person you really have to worry about!

What I resorted to was that No more Tangles spray they market for little kids. She sprayed and got the tangles out, so no one had to touch her hair but her. She battled her hair first, before she ate breakfast and got dressed, so her hair had plenty of time to dry. If hats had been allowed at school she would have worn them every day rather than bother with her fine, static-ey, knotted up hair!
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#12 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 04:29 AM
 
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I think that you can either insist that she cut her hair short, or insist that she accept your help in learning to take care of her hair. Taking proper care of her hair is a reasonable expectation to have of an 10 year old. Taking proper care of long hair by herself might not be.

If the process is painful, maybe you/she aren't going about it the right way. (It depends on her type of hair). I don't know if you've ever had long hair; for many types of long hair, the only ok thing is a wide toothed comb, starting from the bottom and very very slowly working your way up. that means, comb an inch, or less, then comb up another inch. If the comb gets caught, start lower. Go slow. the comb should not be getting caught or yanked through. Each tangle should be gently teased out. When the hair is combed out, depending on her hair type, you could consider a brush. Not until then, or it will hurt and damage the hair.

Some types of hair can handle many different brushes, but really only after the tangles have been combed out. If she has tangly hair, it can't handle being combed from the top, or even the middle. It will cause breakage and look horrible.

Honestly, I say that the best bet is brushing it at night, bunning or braiding it, then it should be easy to deal with in the morning. Have you talked about why she doesn't like braiding, and maybe what you can do to change that? Do you braid tight and it pulls? Do you braid loose and it's poofy and irritating? A braid or bun will protect her hair from breakage, and keep it tangle free. You wouldn't beleive the amount of tangledness some people (me, and others I'm sure) can get with a single night of sleep.

I remember no more tangles worked wonders when my mom used to deal with our long tangly hair as kids. I think the same results can be had by diluting conditioner with water and putting it in a spray bottle.

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#13 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 05:11 AM
 
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Perhaps a trim and a consultation with a hairdresser? 1 inch off the bottom, plus all the hairdresser's tips on care of long hair might help? Then when you go back in 2 months, she can decide if she wants to continue with her long hair plan or try something else.
My hair's pretty fine and can tangle. I use a big toothed comb in the shower with the conditioner to detangle. It works much better than anything else I've tried. I even found a comb with a hooked handle that's made for the shower.
I get worse tangles if I braid the hair - it really snarls up at the nape of my neck. I use a Buff - Link to Site - I wear it tubed all the way down my hair and it helps a ton. Another solution is to ponytail it and put a scrunchie every 3-4" down the pony tail. It's hard to play without getting snarls.
One final thought - something like Natural Instincts hair dye might help. It comes in clear, coats the hair shaft, and washes out after 28 shampoos. It can coat the hair and make it less snarly.

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#14 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 12:10 PM
 
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I have had this issue with my DD and it's maddening. Thick fine hair that tangles so easily!
On one hand, yes. It's her hair. On the other, personal hygiene and simple grooming are not too much to ask. I wanted to set it up so it wouldn't be overwhelming for her keep her hair neat but still allow her choice on the length. (My mom made me wear my hair really short my whole childhood and I hated her for it.)
Our stylist helped out by having DD brush her hair and then the two agreed that she would cut it to the length that her arm could reach. That made it much easier to brush. Also, as goofy as it sounds, she recommended a satin pillow case. It doesn't tangle hair at night as much as cotton ones.
I asked our stylist for solutions but didn't ask her to have a specific outcome..i.e. "convince her to cut it short"
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#15 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for all of the responses, I appreciate your time.

When we detangle, she washes her hair and then I slather conditioner through her hair and have her let it sit for 10 mins. Then I take a wide tooth comb (the best one I've found, having tried many, this one has wavy teeth) and start from the bottom as gently as I can. I can do it with very little pulling through the back, but it's very time consuming and I always seem to accidentally give a tug at the temple area and that sets her off. She doesn't like to sit through it.

I have tried multiple detanglers, and the only one that has worked is $20 for a tiny bottle and we still have to go through an extensive process with the comb.

Her hair is extremely thick (lots of it), but also very fine. It breaks whenever she wears the no-break elastics or scrunchies.

I have a Natural Instincts, I think we'll try that. The video about the buff is interesting.

I don't want to be one of those posters who asks a question and then doesn't listen to the advice . But a couple of questions. If I've tried all of it and it's still a huge drama, is it reasonable for her to keep a rat's nest? She's almost 11, at what point should I not have to devote a lot of time to her hair? I've been running on the natural consequences (you won't do it yourself or willingly participate in me helping you), but she doesn't care. She was only slightly phased when a friend commented on a mat.

It seems similar to if she wanted her hair to be blue. I wouldn't want it to be blue, but it's her hair. Blue isn't permanent so the risk is low. I wouldn't want to look at her blue hair or particularly present to others as having a daughter with blue hair. But it's her hair. Substitute blue in all of the above and it's how I feel about the messy hair.

The reason I posted is that I've been trying to figure this out for quite a while, and want to respect my daughter but the tangle is bothering me (for years now). I'm not in a huge rush to resolve it right now, but was looking for feedback around strategies. I've been thinking about:
-detangle it now
-use the natural instincts
-spend 1-2 weeks brushing it for her at night to see if we can manage that (ie no fights) and hope that she likes having tidier hair consistently
-if that works, tell her that we need to make a decision in 1 or 2 weeks - either she can keep her own hair (ie willingly letting me brush it once a day or doing it herself) or we need to get a bob because the current set up is not sustainable.

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#16 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I agree with a pp who suggested layers! My dd hair is think and fine and the layering takes out a lot of weight without losing length. It is so mush easier to comb and it looks great!
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#17 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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We've previously tried silk pillows and braids, but she hates the process of braiding.
are you french braiding or just braiding the long part? It should take no more than 5 mintues to braid her hair. It doesn't have to be neat, just controlled.

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When we detangle, she washes her hair and then I slather conditioner through her hair and have her let it sit for 10 mins. Then I take a wide tooth comb (the best one I've found, having tried many, this one has wavy teeth) and start from the bottom as gently as I can. I can do it with very little pulling through the back, but it's very time consuming and I always seem to accidentally give a tug at the temple area and that sets her off. She doesn't like to sit through it.
The conditioner does NOT have to be left in for 10 minutes. Have her wash her hair(make sure ALL the shampoo is getting out). Put conditioner in her hair & rinse it out. The rinsing of it will help move it through. Sitting in a tub(and getting cold) to have the hair worked through would suck & I'd hate it too.

The reason it takes so long is becuase it's being left so long between de-tangling. On average we loose 100 hairs a day, if the hair is not being de-tangled then alot of those hairs are stuck in her tangled hair making around 1000 extra hairs tangled up amongst the hair that is still attached to the head.

Are the sides of her hair as tangly? If not it will be easier to start at the sides & work your way to the back.
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It seems similar to if she wanted her hair to be blue. I wouldn't want it to be blue, but it's her hair. Blue isn't permanent so the risk is low. I wouldn't want to look at her blue hair or particularly present to others as having a daughter with blue hair. But it's her hair. Substitute blue in all of the above and it's how I feel about the messy hair.
what do you fear of the blue hair? Do you think people will think badly of YOU for having a dd with blue hair? Is it a reflection of you? It's her hair & therefore it's about her, not about you. She is the one who has to deal with the peer fallout of going to school with messy hair AND she is realizing that(combing it in the car & just putting a scrunchy in it).

What I would do(and what I do with my 9yo dd who has curly long hair she doesn't like to comb) is Sunday night I de-tangle. It is up to her the rest of the week to comb it. Sunday night we redo it. The problem with my dd's hair is it's much curlier UNDER her hair & she doesn't like to comb that hair so she mostly combs the sides & the top layer of the back.

If she gets sick of it she'll either A) take care of it more often or B) cut it off. Until then de-tangle it more often & let her deal with it.
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#18 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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But a couple of questions. If I've tried all of it and it's still a huge drama, is it reasonable for her to keep a rat's nest? She's almost 11, at what point should I not have to devote a lot of time to her hair? I've been running on the natural consequences (you won't do it yourself or willingly participate in me helping you), but she doesn't care. She was only slightly phased when a friend commented on a mat.
My 9 y.o. daughter didn't care, either. And so I DID give up. And the rat at the base of her neck got huge: 4 inches wide and 2 inches thick? I was holding my breath. Waiting with faith. I was a very self conscious mom about it, but I managed to keep quiet. Well, there was that time I just had to explain to my girlfriend that I was actually aware that dd had a huge rat's nest at the base of her neck, but that I was choosing to do nothing about it. Dd finally got so uncomfortable she agreed to let me cut it out (11 y.o.). We got her a nice hair cut to blend in the chopped locks and she's taken excellent care of her hair ever since. She's 15 y.o.

I have a theory that my daughter was going through an important transition from unselfconscious, genderless childhood to more observant, responsible womanhood. I think she was rebelling a little bit, not wanting to have to 'deal' with it quite yet. I sympathize. It's scary and nerve wracking.

Quote:
The reason I posted is that I've been trying to figure this out for quite a while, and want to respect my daughter but the tangle is bothering me (for years now). I'm not in a huge rush to resolve it right now, but was looking for feedback around strategies. I've been thinking about:
-detangle it now
-use the natural instincts
-spend 1-2 weeks brushing it for her at night to see if we can manage that (ie no fights) and hope that she likes having tidier hair consistently
-if that works, tell her that we need to make a decision in 1 or 2 weeks - either she can keep her own hair (ie willingly letting me brush it once a day or doing it herself) or we need to get a bob because the current set up is not sustainable.
I think whatever you choose to do you need to do it with kindness and genuine respect for her. I first tried a half-hearted commitment to 'natural consequences' but then couldn't help but make little frustrated comments to daughter (and dh) about her hair. She didn't take any better care of her hair, and I just got angrier.

I tried again and committed to truly holding my tongue. I had to separate myself from her a bit. And I had to be really patient, because it took longer than I'd hoped. But like I said, dd finally got uncomfortable. When the decision was completely in her hands the whole process went much smoother.

And I believe, I hope, I strengthened our relationship.

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#19 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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What about what it says in the book "How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk"?

It suggests sitting down with your daughter with a paper and pen. Saying something like, "Let's try to think of some solutions to our hair situation." And then whatever suggestion she comes up with write it down. Write yours down too. Then go through each idea together and find one that works.

It's a great book. I might not be describing that correctly. Maybe you can check it out at the library? Or maybe someone else who owns it can elaborate/correct me on that problem solving method.
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#20 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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are you french braiding or just braiding the long part? It should take no more than 5 mintues to braid her hair. It doesn't have to be neat, just controlled.
I agree with this- braiding can be super quick. I think 1 single braid could easily only take about 1-2 minutes.
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#21 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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As someone with a similar hair type (and similar hair struggles with my mom), a few suggestions.

Suggest she stop washing her hair often. Maybe even look into no-shampoo routines (i.e. "no poo").

Make sure that every time she washes it, she either conditions it or preferably rinses it with diluted apple cider vinegar. While it has the conditioner or vinegar in it (and no it doesn't need to sit 10 minutes), is when she should comb it. The ACV and the hair's natural oils will help substantially with the tendency to tangle.

Between washings, it is great to wet her hair and use a small amount of conditioner to detangle then. I don't even brush my hair otherwise, but mine now has a slight wave to it post-pregnancy.

A cut appropriate to her hair type should help considerably. Is it blunt cut below her shoulders? Maybe a stylist (a young, "cool" one your daughter might identify with) could suggest long layers, having it thinned with shears (not a razor since her hair is so fine and has a tendency to snarl/frizz) and shaped to be low-maintenance.

But, if you set your daughter up for success with all the tools she needs, and she still won't care for it, then I would let it go.

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#22 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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Do you have hard water? I know that makes dd's long thick fine hair much more difficult to comb out. Also, it's really important to get ALL the shampoo out before conditioning. The type of conditioner matters too. You may have already tried those things but I thought I'd mention them. Maybe try Wen or at least a sulfate-free shampoo. My hair is so much more agreeable when I'm using a cleanser and not a shampoo.

My mom used to threaten to cut my hair if I didn't take care of it when I was around 10. I really resent it and hate the way it felt. But she sort of taunted me all the time and I started living in fear of being dragged off for a bob.

What I did with my oldest when she had long hair but didn't want to comb/brush it was tell her that she had two choices--either brush it out at least once a day or cut it so it would be easier to brush.

There are very few things in my mind that are non-negotiable and basic personal hygiene is one of them. If a kid is too young to do it alone then I'll happily help, but they have to be agreeable to me helping. If they aren't agreeable to me helping, then they need to learn to do whatever it is, or change the situation so it's less of an issue. JM2C.

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#23 of 51 Old 03-28-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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If it remains a problem and you decide the solution is to get it cut, maybe getting it cut a lot shorter but not all the way to a bob might help? like shoulder length might still feel a little bit like long hair and not be so hard to take care of?

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#24 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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Taking proper care of her hair is a reasonable expectation to have of an 10 year old.
I disagree. This is the age when girls start doing more things for themselves, and letting them do it (and not doing nearly as good of a job as we could!) is difficult. Learning to take proper care of hair can take time and mistakes, how long and how big of mistakes depend on the child and the type of hair.

It's reasonable for young child to let mom do their hair, and its reasonable for a teen to do a good with their hair, put there is an uncomfortable place in between when they do it themselves but not consistently and sometimes not very well!

A lot of girls this age look kinda tatty -- they are old enough to do these things for themselves but often lack the experience to do them well.

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Well, there was that time I just had to explain to my girlfriend that I was actually aware that dd had a huge rat's nest at the base of her neck, but that I was choosing to do nothing about it.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing something because it really is best for my child or because I'm afraid that other people will judge me as a bad mother.

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When the decision was completely in her hands the whole process went much smoother.
That's been my experience, too.

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As someone with a similar hair type (and similar hair struggles with my mom), a few suggestions.

Suggest she stop washing her hair often. Maybe even look into no-shampoo routines (i.e. "no poo").
agreed. I really The Curly Girl Book.

Both my DDs has super curly hair that they choose to wear long. They don't want me to touch it. What works at our house is to have super wide tooth comb in the shower and lots and lots of conditioner. They comb it out while showing at least 5 days a week. (depending on what's going on over the weekend, they just pull the whole mess back in a pony tail). One of my DDs find her hair does best seldom being washed, the other washes her hair every day. Encourage your DD to experiment.

Getting the ends trimmed can make it easier to comb, not because the overall length is much less but because the frayed and split hairs at the bottom tangle REALLY badly. 1/2 inch to an inch can make things much easier.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 01:53 AM
 
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Ds age 13 wants a very shaggy haired look. He is very sensitive about his hair, it's thick and grows quickly. He combs it straight forward over his forehead which has started to break-out. To me it looks awful...but I remember my mother being controlling over my looks so he can do whatever he wants. I noticed at his school many of the boys have long hair or shaggy. Most of the girls also have long hair that is not styled or pulled back, it just sort of hangs. They look like the movie Dazed and Confused!
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#26 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also had a struggle with my mother over hair, and she bugs DD too until I tell her to knock it off. I don't want to be in that struggle, which is why I posted.

DD's brother has sensory processing disorder and she's also very sensitive - not in the SPD range, but very sensitive. Hair has been an issue for years, as she really wants to avoid routines related to her hair as it's all uncomfortable/painful to her.

So, this afternoon we had a good, calm discussion about it and she agrees she'd prefer to be tidy, so we've made a plan. Tonight we spent an hour (an hour!!) with the $20 bottle of detangler, the wide comb and some warm water to provide extra lubrication detangling her hair. Thank goodness we both like home reno shows. She then did some more in the shower independently. Then more combing/brushing until the brush in now going through smoothly. Brushed before bed and into a loose braid.

This week she's agreed to me brushing/combing it for her, and we're going to my stylist to discuss layers. If we are successful this week at working on it together, we'll do the Natural Instincts next weekend. Then the next week we'll move to her taking on more responsibility for her hair, and hopefully we'll have practiced the habits enough that they'll become more routine with some support from mom.

Thank you everyone for helping me work through this. I was feeling exasperated and stuck.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#27 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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It sounds like you have a good plan there.

Something else to make sure she does. When she puts the brush in at the top of her hair, make sure when she gets to the bottom, that she pulls the brush right off her hair before going back to the top. I noticed with my 9yo's waist length hair, she'd go so far, the hair would be still on the brush, and she'd go back up and brush again. Not pretty.
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#28 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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If she wants long hair, take her to the long hair community and she can see all the gorgeous butt-length hair that comes from keeping hair combed regularly. She can also read about people who are sad that they didn't take the time to get tangles out when young and ended up with split-ends and broken hair and are now trying to grow their hair out from shorter than you're wanting her to cut it.

If she wants long hair, her choices are to take care of it now, or to cut it until she has time to take care of it.
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#29 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethla View Post
Ds age 13 wants a very shaggy haired look. He is very sensitive about his hair, it's thick and grows quickly. He combs it straight forward over his forehead which has started to break-out. To me it looks awful...but I remember my mother being controlling over my looks so he can do whatever he wants. I noticed at his school many of the boys have long hair or shaggy. Most of the girls also have long hair that is not styled or pulled back, it just sort of hangs. They look like the movie Dazed and Confused!
It drives me crazy! I didn't like the shaggy look on guys back in the 70s, didn't like the parted down the middle, long, no-style look on girls back in the 70s, and I still don't like it.

Dang, I sound like a curmudgeon. That's alright, I'll live.

Hurrah, JoeandSally! Good luck to you and your daughter.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#30 of 51 Old 03-29-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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I had this issue with my mother at a very similar age. She finally gave up and eventually I figured out how to take care of my hair. I really do wish she'd given me more guidance, though. I really didn't know how to take care of my hair, and we were very poor, such that conditioner was a luxury for us. I also want to add that she had always made a huge deal about how beautiful my long, gorgeous hair was. So, when she made suggestions to cut it, it felt like she was saying she wanted to make me ugly. I know that's not rational, but it's how I felt.
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